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First, there was an Uber Visa and now there is a brand new Starbucks Rewards Visa credit card. The trendy millennial-friendly brands are infiltrating the co-branded credit card space! More rewards credit card choices are only a good thing, so let’s look at if the new Starbucks Visa credit card is worth it. You may already know that the no annual fee Uber Visa is actually a pretty solid offering even if you don’t use Uber, but how does the brand new Starbucks Visa shake-out for Frappuccino and cold brew addicts as well as everyone else?
Starbucks Rewards Visa Sign-Up Bonus
The new Starbucks Rewards Visa is issued by Chase and has a new member sign-up bonus of 2,500 Starbucks Stars after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months. The is the equivalent of about 20 Starbucks menu items at 125 Stars required per item. If you assume an average menu item price of $5 – $6, then that is about $100 – $120 in Starbucks available from the sign-up bonus. Of course, if you redeem the Stars for a plain old cup of coffee your value will be less and if you redeem for fancy drinks with lots of add-ins or some of their pricier food boxes or bowls then your value will be a little higher.
You get another 250 Stars when you use the Starbucks Rewards Visa to load your Starbucks Card in the mobile app for the first time, so that is about the same as another two menu items. That means you get 22 Starbucks items from getting the card, putting $500 in charges on it, and using it via the Starbucks mobile app. So far, so good.
Starbucks Rewards Visa Everyday Earnings
In terms of everyday spending, you get 1 Starbucks Star for every $4 spent at stores other than Starbucks and 1 Star for every $1 digitally loaded to your registered Starbucks Card in the Starbucks mobile app. You will then still earn the 2 Stars for every $1 earned when using your Starbucks Card in the mobile app. This will amount to 3 Stars per dollar for using the Starbucks Visa via the mobile app as opposed to the 2 Stars per dollar you can earn (outside of bonuses) without the Starbucks Visa. At that rate, you earn a menu item for about every $42 you spend at Starbucks. That doesn’t sound half-bad, but remember even without the new Starbucks Visa you are getting a menu item for every $62.50 spent at Starbucks…and, in reality, it usually happens way faster than that with promotions, double point days, and more.
Outside of Starbucks purchases, it takes $500 in charges to earn enough Stars for one Starbucks menu item. If you assume a menu item is worth about $5, then that is 1% back in rewards, which isn’t great. In fact, for a store-specific reward on a card that comes with an annual fee, it is pretty terrible.
More Starbucks Rewards Visa Perks
Those who apply and are approved will receive a physical card within 7-10 days of their application being approved, and a digital card will be immediately loaded into the Starbucks mobile app for immediate use – that is a smart move!
In addition to all of that, you will get instant Starbucks Gold status with the card and there will be 8 Barista Picks loaded to your Starbucks account for you to use throughout each year. These are curated food and beverages selected by baristas for you to try and expire within 30 days of being issued. The Starbucks Stars you earn are valid for six months after the calendar month when they were earned. If you like and use all 8 of the Barista Picks you get each year then at an assumed average of $5 per item, that roughly offsets the $49 annual fee. However, that is only if you like and use all of the 8 Barista Picks before they expire.
Is the Starbucks Rewards Visa a Good Deal?
Unlike the Uber Visa that is good even if you don’t use Uber since it issues cash back and has solid bonus categories without an annual fee, the Starbucks Rewards Visa is only worthy of consideration by those who really, really like their Starbucks. The Starbucks Visa rewards come in the form of Starbucks Stars, so they have no value outside of Starbucks. In that way, it really is more similar to many store-branded cards where the rewards you earn can only be used at that store. That works out just fine if you are a die-hard fan of that particular store, but it is not at all a good match if you aren’t. The other catch is that most other store-branded cards don’t have annual fees, but this card has a $49 annual fee that is not even waived the first year.
While the 1 Star per dollar on Starbucks purchases using your Starbucks Card is okay, getting 1% back on non-bonused spending in the form of store-specific rewards is simply bad. This math is based on earning 1 Star for every $4 charged and 125 Stars = a menu item worth roughly $5. This is not the card to use on non-Starbucks purchases. Virtually any other rewards card is better for everyday spending since even a 1% cash back card would offer more flexible rewards than just Starbucks Stars.
I like to get at least $500 in value for my sign-up bonuses, so I won’t be using a Chase application and card slot on the Starbucks Visa. However, I am not the average credit card user. Despite some of its very real limitations, I do think the new Starbucks Rewards Visa is an okay choice for those who aren’t hardcore into rewards credit cards, but who do go to Starbucks at least a couple of times per week and enjoy some of the pricier $5+ menu items where Stars have more value. The $49 annual fee and Starbucks specific rewards make it a non-starter for all those who aren’t Starbucks regulars, but if you truly live and breathe Starbucks Stars and menu items, I can see the new Starbucks Visa making sense in some cases.
For the rest of us, let’s just keep getting our Starbucks gift cards via the MileagePlus X app or using our Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x Ultimate Reward points per dollar spent at Starbucks while still racking up Stars in the app…
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.